Extending the role of fibers for face masks manufacturing: Ahlstrom-Munksjö receives validation from the French Government

In accordance to the newly implemented guidelines issued by the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) aimed at providing policies that help expand the availability of face masks for non-sanitary use, Ahlstrom-Munksjö Reliance® SMS 200, Reliance® SMS 300, Reliance® Dextex 200 and Reliance® Dextex 300, typically used for the manufacturing of sterilization wraps for surgical instruments, have been declared compatible with the requirements of a category 1 mask type that are individual mask for use by professionals in contact with the public. In addition, Reliance® SMS 200 and Reliance® SMS 300 have been shown to be compatible to the performance criteria of surgical masks.

The validation was acknowledged following a series of tests conducted by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French Government Defense procurement and technology agency. Testing  confirmed the performance compatibility of the Reliance® SMS material with surgical face masks types thanks to its excellent breathability and bacterial filtration efficiency, whereas Reliance® Dextex proved to ensure permeability to air and to perform in protection barrier efficiency at a level compatible to the category 1 face masks currently in use.

This accomplishment was made possible thanks to the extensive work of Jonathan Laloum, Global Product Manager SBS, in partnership with SF2S (Société Française des Sciences de la Stérilisation), notably the highest scientific source for the sterilization industry in France.

“I am very proud to see that in the face of an extremely challenging environment my team is looking above and beyond the scope of our existing product offer and challenges our product portfolio specifications to meet the new demand in facemask in France and worldwide. Beyond innovation this crisis calls for creativity to allow for more solutions to come to life,” says Lionel Bonte, Vice President Medical Business Unit at Ahlstrom-Munksjö.

Reliance® SMS 200, Reliance® SMS 300, Reliance® Dextex 200 and Reliance® Dextex 300 manufactured at the Medical business plants in Windsor Locks, United States and Mundra, India and converted at the site in Pont Audemer, France, have already been supplied to hospitals across France, to the French Government and distributors.

Thanks to the long-term experience of the Medical business in inner and outer layer face mask fabrics manufacturing, the use of the Reliance® SMS and Dextex materials will have additional opportunities. Reliance® Dextex is already qualified for face mask applications at the Windsor Locks site, United States, and qualification will also be obtained shortly at the facility in Brignoud, France and Malmedy, Belgium. Moreover, the team has been actively engaging with Fortune 500 companies in the United States for the commercialization of the face mask fabrics manufactured at the Windsor Locks plant. All these initiatives ultimately aim at expanding the role of our fiber-based materials for the manufacturing of face masks, now when it’s most needed as well as in the longer term.